Last month, the Flat composition challenge was based on cultural rhythms and inspirations. We wanted our global community to show off just how diverse it is (and you did!), while also seeing how music can act as a creative force that forms bonds across cultures (and it does!).

Needless to say, choosing a winner was tough. But one composition did rise above, Erik Compte’s Caballo Negro. We spoke with Erik about his work and experience with composing, and are happy to share his thoughts with you here 🤗

Could you introduce yourself to our readers and give us a sense of your music background?

Hello everyone, I'm Erik Compte, also known as earth in the community. I was introduced to the world of music at a young age, and ever since I’ve been on a path of infinite learning and development. My main instrument is the violin, but over the past few years I’ve also picked up the piano as a second instrument. Piano has also helped me actually understand music better, it’s a very powerful tool when it comes to composing. The fact that you have an instrument with a seven octave register makes it almost equivalent to the register of an entire orchestra; that really has helped me to understand harmony, melody development and orchestration better.

When it comes to composing with Flat, how did you get started?

I joined the Flat community in late 2020, and it was my first composing tool and experience. But even before I actively joined the community, I was using Flat as a way to test things out and discover how music works. Once I started getting the hang of things I moved towards writing complete works and eventually publishing them.

And I must say that I didn’t have much success at first! But with the help of the Discord community server owned and run by B.C Mix Music, I got better and started earning some more attention. My high point then came when I won the first Composer of the Month award. But then my Flat Premium account expired and I started focusing more on interpretation than composition.

Tell us a bit more about your winning composition.

Caballo Negro (Black Horse) was the fruit of an inspiration that started with Spain’s 2023 Eurovision song contest submission, “Ea Ea”. It was a very brave flamenco-style piece that sadly didn’t get the love it deserved. Once I saw the topic for this month’s challenge, it felt obvious: I was going to write something with that same style to let people hear the amazing music culture that exists in one of our many regions. The flamenco style originally comes from southern Spain, but today if you go up north, to Catalonia, the Basque Country or Galicia, you’ll find other creative and amazing styles that reflect our country’s various cultures.

As I developed the piece, I got great feedback from both the Discord community server and from my composition teacher, who helped me with a lot of things, like the usage of minor 9ths in my Phrygian G chords.

Do you have any advice for your fellow composers thinking about joining in the challenges?

For new-ish composers, it’s an experience that really builds you up as a musician. You have to put in the hard work, trying to make every small step yield as much benefit as possible in the music, but you don’t need to feel anxious about it either. You don’t need to get really good really fast, the best path to improvement is taking your time.

Congratulations to Erik once again, we hope you enjoy listening to his work! And a big thank you to all of our challenge participants. We find that these challenges create a wonderful circle of inspiration: you take the topic and get creative with it, and as our team listens to what your creations, it gives another burst of energy to build even more tools that can help you express your musical ideas. So thank you, and we’re looking forward to hearing what you come up with next!